The symbols { } are used to bring a clearer definition to the written word.

Most of the Christian world would declare that Jesus (peace be upon him) was crucified. However, this paper takes a different viewpoint while believing that the New Testament is actually telling a fairly logical though incorrect sequence of events.

Being this is a religious issue, a person must make assumptions based on religious evidence. However, it is very important to combine religion with logic, history and good, solid guesswork to arrive at a more ‘open and honest’ evaluation for the judgment of whether Jesus (pbh) was or was not crucified.

We start with the recognized Holy Books and what they have to say directly about that issue. Only the New Testament and the Quran show no ambiguousness about this issue. The New Testament declares outright that Jesus (pbh) was indeed crucified while the Quran denies it wholeheartedly. As far as the Old Testament is concerned it is considered a shame for a man to be crucified.

 …his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your GOD is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged {in that manner} is cursed of GOD.      Deuteronomy (21: 23)

The Quranic verses concerning the non-crucifixion of Jesus (pbh) (4: 156-157), however, tell a different story:

And because of their disbelief {Jewish beliefs at the time in renouncing Jesus} and uttering against Mary a grave false charge {of illegal sexual intercourse resulting in the birth of Jesus}

And {also} because of their {boastful} saying {known by GOD beforehand}, “We killed {the supposed} Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the {so-called} Messenger of GOD,” but they killed him NOT NOR crucified him but it was made to appear so to them and those who differ {about this} are full of doubts. They have no certain knowledge {truthful knowledge}; they follow nothing but conjecture. For a positive fact, they did not kill him {Jesus the son of Mary}. Q (4: 156-157)

The meaning of these verses is very clear although some ideas may have been overlooked in its interpretation. The verse openly declares that Jesus (pbh) will not be put on the cross and therefore, will not die by this type of torture.

What may be overlooked in these verses is that for GOD’s OWN reasons, HE will cause all people present at the ‘crucifixion event’ to actually see, hear, feel and sense that Jesus (pbh) is being crucified and killed. Also, those people who have assurances in their mind that Jesus’ crucifixion happened are tagged by the Quran as those throwing up nothing but conjectures to put Jesus on the cross.

Another reason is that this is going to be a ‘test’ for those who have declared their faith. This outcome will be tested upon those who believe versus those who don’t believe, at least on this point. This is shown in both the New Testament and the Quran as what I have called the ‘Real Last Supper’ or the amazing appearance of Jesus (pbh) to his Disciples several days after he was taken and ‘supposedly hung on a tree’. It will also be used to test the faith of those who would not have witnessed the ‘risen’ Christ but who got the message from the truthful followers at a later time.

Before discussing the ‘crucifixion issue’ from the Holy Books, let us look at some intriguing historical evidence on the subject to see if the Muslims have any leg to stand on.

First, a man named Basilides asked Peter’s Secretary (Glaucus) if Jesus was crucified. The answer was no! When pressed on who was on the cross instead of Jesus (pbh) he said that a man called Simon the Cyrenian was put there in place of Jesus (pbh). The reasons for this have not been recorded. Simon the Cyrenian still remains a mysterious character and he appears mysteriously in the Gospel narratives as well as disappearing mysteriously.

Secondly, we have recorded history which shows one of the major early church fathers going on a quest to find the truth of whether Jesus was actually crucified. This occurred in roughly 148 AC by the church father/philosopher/historian Justin Martyr. Now his findings with the Jews and Romans as to their records showed Jesus to be crucified in the flesh.

However, why is this search taking place IF the crucifixion of Jesus was a well-known and foregone conclusion? Based on pure logic, one can assume that during this critical time in ‘formulating Christianity’ (100 to 172 CE) there was no official New Testament Book at that time. In fact, there were plenty of real objections to declaring the crucifixion of Jesus coming from many sources – spurious or not.

It is postulated from these actions that if the crucifixion of Jesus (pbh) was beyond any doubt, then it would have been a waste of time to ‘reinvent the wheel’ idea of proving what needed no proof to begin with. It is a total waste of time, for example, for mathematicians to prove that 2+2=4 because it is universally accepted as a well-known fact.

Finally, history can tell us something about a man whose worldly wisdom was astute. This man was called Heraclius the Roman Emperor. He acknowledged in front of some Arabs who were enemies of Muhammad (pbh) and who did not believe that he was a true prophet that indeed, he, the Roman Emperor, did believe in Muhammad (pbh) as a true prophet due to the answers he was getting from Muhammad’s (pbh) enemies based on the questions he was asking.

Furthermore, he gave evidence that he and some ‘scholarly friends’ of his did have knowledge that a prophet after Jesus was going to be sent to the Arabs who would be an Arab but he was surprised that a country as backward as Arabia was going to be his place of origin and not Syria.

Now we have to turn to the Scriptures especially the New Testament and see if it is possible to work out a logical scenario to show what basically happened on that fateful day. To do this, some logical suppositions have to be made if one is going under the impression that certain verses are truthful such as Zephaniah (3: 9-10), Q (15: 9 and 18: 1) – concerning the ‘purity’ of the Quran and that the Quranic verses (4: 156-157) reflect the truth of the actual crucifixion story.

According to a paper called “The Crucifixion of Jesus in View of Muslim Theology” by Dr. Christine Shirrmacher copyright 1997, the Muslim viewpoint is put forth on the crucifixion. That, however, is not quite true in its exactness due to inclusion of some offbeat sects in Islam. Also, the paper ‘hints’ that Islam is blended with ‘derelict’ Christian sects to form a new man-made religion.

The important thing to remember, however, from the majority Muslim point of view is that the Christian idea of basing much of their religion on something that didn’t actually happen contrasts with the Muslim idea of this supposed event. Hence, the seemingly short shrift given to this non-happening event in the Quran.

It is my contention that the story of the crucifixion of Jesus found in the New Testament is basically factual as a story but with the caveat that Jesus (pbh) was NOT the one who was crucified on the cross. Furthermore, as in all sciences, there must be an amount of guesswork involved and suppositions put forward in order to ‘reach back into time’ to understand the problems involved. These suppositions would be the following:

  1. The New Testament is basically but not perfectly telling the correct story of the crucifixion event.
  2. Some of the New Testament material has been placed out of sequence in order to put forth a story supporting the views of the church.
  3. Many Christian scholars have come forward in their belief that the New Testament is a collection of documents that contain a host of grievous errors and misstatements but are still to be considered historical (a type of ‘in the ballpark in nature’).

The crucifixion event did actually take place and it was recorded as a real event. Jesus (pbh) was a very controversial figure to the ruling class of Jews known as the Pharisees among others. There is recorded several assassination attempts during his ministry, known by his Disciples, by which he somehow miraculously escapes. Therefore, the Disciples are not strangers to ‘plots’ aimed at hurting or killing Jesus (pbh). The plots at that time are not aimed at the Disciples, however.

These type of ‘escapes’ are related to the mystery of Jesus’ ability to either change his form or become completely invisible in front of his enemies with the help of an angel. Hence, the case for a lightening quick switch of identities either before his being taken by the Roman soldiers or his quick, within a ‘twinkling of an eye’ switch of identities as the cross was taken from him and handed to another (Simon the Cyrenian) is justifiable. It also explains how the angry crowds who seek his death or injury could not find him even when he remained in their midst. This forms the basis of what has been called the ‘Substitution Theory’.

In Jesus’ final days, he and his Disciples are taking a trip to Jerusalem and he foretells ‘things that would happen’. This time his Disciples become extremely frightened with the things that they will face but Jesus tries to calm them down. He gives them instructions on where to meet him and when he will arrive after certain ‘events’ take place and even the right place or house where they shall be hold up in.

This dwelling has to be a ‘safe house’ whereby the Disciples could remain out of the way and undetected. Jesus (pbh) is going to be delayed by ‘scary events’ and the Disciples have to be organized in a single area for the ‘test’ that was to follow (The Real Last Supper)

This prophecy must have been pretty awesome considering the ‘fright’ of the Disciples. It shows Jesus (pbh) knows all about what is going to happen to him because he is very precise about it and importantly he isn’t quacking in fear or begging GOD to let him escape. If there is a thought that he would not make it, then the Disciples would be wasting their time waiting for him to return.

They (the Disciples) were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise {from the grave}.”                                      Mark (10: 32-34)

I believe this is exactly what happened except for the ‘kill him’ part. It is assumed that some words like ‘they will try to kill me’ has been taken out. Notice Jesus presumably calls himself ‘him’ which is odd. Therefore, it seems someone is relating a story which can be ‘altered’ to fit the beliefs of the day. This amounts to a small alteration but having a huge change of meaning.

Before this event, some Jews pledged a ‘conditional’ allegiance to Jesus if he would perform a certain miracle on himself. Either they were truthful which they apparently weren’t or they were trying to ‘goad’ him into something they believed he couldn’t do. But GOD heard their taunts and turned the tables on them.

Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum {on yourself}.’”                       Luke (4: 23)

Was Jesus (pbh) afflicted with leprosy, was he blind being dumb and not able to walk correctly? No, so they must have been speaking about some other miracle to be performed. That miracle would be raising the dead as he did in Capernaum (Luke chapter 7). So, if he brought himself back to life which he performed on others by GOD’s Will, then their pledge, if it wasn’t worthless, would be to believe in him.

Jesus declared to his hounding detractors that indeed, he would give them a ‘Sign’ but because of their taunting nature they were a faithless generation.

Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish {Alive}, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth {Alive}.        Matthew (12: 38-40)

In order for Jesus (pbh) to be correct in his ‘Sign’ he would have to be just like Jonah (pbh) was. In truth, Jonah was alive going into the sea; he was alive when swallowed by that strange fish and he remained alive while in the belly of that fish. He was also very much alive when he was spat out of that fish. So, the perfect Jesus (he of no sin) was going into a ‘grave’ alive in some fashion and coming out alive in some fashion. Obviously, he would go into the grave unnoticed which wouldn’t draw attention to the ‘miracle’, as he promised, to be performed.

This particular fashion is discussed by Jesus (pbh) himself:

The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead {by GOD}, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.     John (2: 18-22)

In an apparent contradiction, Jesus gives yet another ‘Sign’ but that error is probably due to the writer of that Gospel. This is a very important quote because it might reveal what Jesus (pbh) was doing in the grave all this time and coupled with the following verse it seems he did a lot of work such that he was very weary after accomplishing it.

The work he did is probably related to his promise given to the person who, according to the Muslims, was crucified in his place:

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”                               Luke (23: 42-43).

In other words, ‘this same day you will be with me’ and I, being sinless, am likened unto a man of paradise. How this could have been accomplished is not known. What is important is to note that Jesus (pbh) according to the description of his miracles was given a power by GOD over the ‘elements’ – changing water into wine and curing diseases, malformed bodies and even ‘raising the dead’. So, belief in his miraculous escape from death and altering another’s body are not unconceivable.

Jesus said to her, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my FATHER: but go to my brethren and tell them I ascend to my FATHER and your FATHER and to my GOD and your GOD.”   John (20: 17)

This literally shows a person who has been ‘strained’ by long labors for he did also appear somewhat weary when he left the tomb as if his ‘work’ required a lot of effort. ‘Touch me not’ is a phrase used when someone doesn’t want one to get in close contact with one because of some danger, disease or corruption happening.

With all these witnesses looking at Jesus being led to the slaughter, how is it possible that people could be fooled? It is easy to say that GOD can do anything as HE pleases. However, do we have any ‘direct evidence’ to show that it is so?

The Gospels discuss very briefly that Jesus (pbh) was able to walk through the midst of would be killers angry enough to take his life but unable to find him when he is actually in their midst, {encircled by them or surrounded by them} John (8: 59), John (10: 31). In fact, Jesus was, according to the Quran, ‘sheltered’ from being harmed by the Jews.

…and when I restrained the Children of Israel from {doing harm to} you as you came to them with clear proofs {of your mission and truthfulness}, and the disbelievers amongst them said: “This is nothing but evident magic.”                                   Q (5: 110)

So the Jews didn’t harm him in the least. That does not mean that the Roman Gentiles, Gentiles being any who is not a Jew, couldn’t hurt him. Jesus is recorded as going through a ‘dramatic passion’ before the crucifixion in which he sweated drops of blood. There is no reason to doubt this. The doubt comes from the ‘WHY’ he did this.

Jesus did sweat blood, a condition known as hematohidrosis, due to several reasons. In the Gospels, Jesus (pbh) tells of the future events to the Disciples, on their way to Jerusalem, and they became terrified so he had to settle them down but he did scold them a little bit due to their ‘fear overcoming their faith’.

He even gives them a certain time that he will not be with them, a certain time that he will revisit them and the place to go for them to wait upon him. So logically, he knows what is going to happen and he is as ‘cool as a cucumber’ about it. In other words, he is NOT whining about anything. He puts his trust in his LORD.

However, being that his ‘station’ with the LORD is so very high i.e. he will return as the leader in a new kingdom on earth as the Messiah, it is a hellacious thought that mere ‘unbelieving pagans’ (Roman soldiers) will strip him down to complete nakedness showing his private parts and parade him around while beating and tormenting his body with kicks, punches, spit and slanderous words.

Moreover, Jesus (pbh) has declared that he has been given around 12,000 angels whom he can call on for ‘protection’ such that he need not fear any ‘power’ in the land. With that much power, he did not need to fear or even submit to the silly Roman soldiers or the Inquisition that would follow.

‘Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide me with more than twelve legions of angels’?  Matthew (26: 53)

Also, Jesus’ soul WAS VERY TENDER towards people and the people who he came ESPECIALLY FOR (THE JEWS). {However, remember the non-Jewish woman whom he first REPULSED who cried out for faith and said that even a ‘dog’ can wait on his masters table to get a few crumbs’} (Matthew (15: 22-27). Those who called themselves JEWS who were implicit in trying to get him killed and whom he had been around and supported Luke (13: 34).

And especially his sorrow in seeing the people who were so bombastic in their claims of great faith but in reality would be turned away, Matthew (8: 11-12) – where the ‘children of the kingdomwill be cast out into utter darkness: {‘where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth’}.

So, he did pray to have this ‘SUPER HUMILLIATION’ of being  beaten and treated like common trash pass him by and that is totally understandable from what has just been said about his tender heart and very high and respectful station.  But that was NOT GOD’s WILL and he accepted to undergo this one last ‘dagger in the heart’ because GOD WILLED IT FOR HIS OWN REASONS. Luke (22: 42-44).

Finally, there is Paul who declares something very strange and yet that is not out of the norm due to a ‘warning’ given about him in 2 Peter (3: 15-17). According to Paul in 1 Corinthians (1: 23): We preach Christ crucified as a STUMBLINGBLOCK to the Jews and as FOOLISHNESS to the Greeks.

That is, the Jew must believe in all the prophets sent by GOD for salvation especially in this case as Jesus (pbh) was both the last of the Jewish prophets and the appointed Messiah that would eventually return to ‘claim his own’. However, many Jews thought because of the crucifixion of Jesus (pbh), he was a false prophet. Hence, there would be no benefit in believing in him.

The Greeks, on the other hand, are especially advanced in the worldly arts and sciences but lack the ‘niceties’ of the Jews when it came to religious monotheism. They are a people who tend to put religion as subservient to their observations and are a people who tend to dwell on mythical folklore for their entertainment as noted from their proclivity to relish in stories about the gods and goddesses. Therefore, it would appear to the scientific mind that a story was being concocted about ‘yet another savior to the human race’ coming down as a ‘god’ amongst men.

In conclusion, based on all the evidence, I believe the Quran, in stating that Jesus (pbh) was neither killed nor crucified, is absolutely correct. This is also based on the idea that if one is close to a skunk when he lets it go, then the smell will stick to one’s clothes much more than if he is miles away. And because the ‘Christian era’ grew up and was surrounded by a pagan society, it naturally took some of that smell with it.

Some quotes from the church father Justin Martyr concerning ‘proselytizing’ the pagans of his day would be very interesting here and show a ‘tendency’ to use pagan influences/comparisons with the then fledgling ‘Greek-type Christianity’.